Public Library Statistics

Quick Facts About Alberta Public Libraries

Library Boards and Service Points

  • 225 municipal library boards responsible for serving Albertans.
  • Seven regional library systems serving 210 library boards, 303 municipalities, and 266 library service points.
  • 317 library service points across Alberta.


  • 355 municipalities in Alberta, including Metis Settlements, Improvement Districts and Special Areas
  • 318 (90%) municipalities provide access to municipal library service.
  • 37 municipalities do not provide any level of public library service (many of these are Summer Villages)
  • 3,689,001 Albertans (based on 2012 population) have access to a public library: 99.7% of the total provincial population.
  • Only 0.3% of the provincial population does not have access to public library service

Library Use

  • 46% of adult Albertans have used a public library in the last twelve months.
  • 62% of Albertan households reported having a member who had used a public library in the past twelve months

    Source: Leger Marketing, 2012

In 2011,

  • Albertans had access to over 10 million books, CDs, DVDs, eBooks and other materials at Alberta public libraries (3.05 library items per capita served).
  • There were 1,385,283 library cardholders in Alberta, representing 39% of the population.
  • Albertans borrowed over 43 million items from public libraries.
  • Alberta libraries circulated 12 items per person.
  • Albertans visited their libraries in person over 18 million times.
  • Albertans visited their libraries virtually through their library’s website over 22 million times.
  • Over 1.3 million people took part in one of the many programs offered by Alberta’s libraries.

Library Funding

In 2011,

  • Provincial operating grants to public library boards (municipal and system) totaled $25,700,003, representing 15% of total library operating revenue.
  • The province also expended $4,125,932 to support the provincial library network. This included funds for SuperNet connectivity for all public libraries, The Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN) and the resource sharing network.  Total provincial support for public library service amounted to $29,825,935
  • Municipal contributions (including in-kind support) to public library boards (municipal and system) amounted to $122,696,174. This represented 70% of total library operating revenue.
  • Public libraries spent $11,740,617 on library materials ($3.29 per capita served).

In the five-year period between 2006 and 2011,

  • Local funding support for public libraries increased by 41%
  • Provincial grants to public library boards increased by 42%
  • Population served by public libraries increased by 12%

Support for public library service in Alberta




Local support per capita served*



Provincial support per capita served*+



*includes support given to local municipal library boards and regional system boards
+includes network support

Other Facts About Alberta's Public Libraries

In 2011,

  • There were 1,896 (full-time equivalent) employees in public libraries. In addition, there were 168 full-time employees in library systems. In total, there were 2,064 full-time employees devoted to public library service in Alberta.
  • Public libraries were open on average 35.64 hours per week.

    Source: Public Library Statistics, 2011 Public Library Services Branch